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Sweet tamales: Tamales dulces by Karen Hursh Graber © 2006

Sweet tamales, wrapped in corn husks and piled on platters, are a traditional treat at children's birthday parties, christenings and First Communions, as well as at the Christmas posadas.

On Candelaria (Candlemas), February 2, they are served along with a variety of other tamales. Mexican tradition holds that the person who gets the piece of Rosca de Reyes — Three Kings Bread — containing the baby Jesus doll on January 6 must pay for the tamales served at Candlemas, which celebrates the presentation of Jesus in the temple and the purification of the Virgin.


  • 2 bunches dried corn husks
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 1 1/2 cups rice flour
  • 2 1/4 pounds fresh masa or masa prepared with masa harina
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • red food coloring
  • 1 teasoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup sweet cream

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Mix the rice flour with the masa, adding water until the dough is well mixed.

Add the beaten butter-sugar mixture to the dough, beating after each addition until the dough is light and fluffy. Add red food coloring if desired.

For the filling, mix the cinnamon, sugar, raisins, almonds and sweet cream.

Fill, wrap and steam following the directions for basic tamales.

Makes 24.


Link to source articles
Mexican Christmas menu ideas: Posadas, Noche Buena, Navidad
Los tamales: Five hundred years at the heart of the fiesta


Published or Updated on: January 1, 2006 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2006
Contact Karen Hursh Graber

Follow Karen as she travels through the Central Mexican state of Puebla, meeting local cooks, tasting the food, and collecting recipes. With over 75 recipes, plus sections on ingredients and cooking techniques, the book takes the reader on a journey through one of Mexico's oldest and most renowned culinary regions. It can be ordered online.

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